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Due to the failures of earlier generations, which believed that would quickly achieve AGI, leading to the AI winters, 21st researchers have been very afraid of even trying it, rather going only for smaller subste problems like better neural network designs, at the risk of being considered a crank.
While there is fundamental value in such subset problems, the general view to the final goal is also very important, we will likely never reach AI without it.
This is voiced for example in Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (2014) section "Opinions about the future of machine intelligence" which in turn quotes Nils Nilsson:
There may, however, be a residual cultural effect on the AI community of its earlier history that makes many mainstream researchers reluctant to align themselves with over-grand ambition. Thus Nils Nilsson, one of the old-timers in the field, complains that his present-day colleagues lack the boldness of spirit that propelled the pioneers of his own generation:
Concern for "respectability" has had, I think, a stultifying effect on some AI researchers. I hear them saying things like, "AI used to be criticized for its flossiness. Now that we have made solid progress, let us not risk losing our respectability." One result of this conservatism has been increased concentration on "weak AI" - the variety devoted to providing aids to human thought - and away from "strong AI" - the variety that attempts to mechanize human-level intelligence
Nilsson’s sentiment has been echoed by several others of the founders, including Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, and Patrick Winston.
Don't be a pussy, AI researchers!!!


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